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Comedic short that pits a smoker against a tiny fairy, brought to life through early special effects.
Preserved by the Library of Congress.
This movie is part of the collection: Short Format Films
Production Company: Vitagraph Company
Audio/Visual: Silent, Black and White
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Darren Nemeth -
Subject: "one of the finest trick films made in the United States."
"Princess Nicotine" (1909) is discussed in the book "Moving pictures, how they are made and worked (1912)" by Frederick Arthur Ambros Talbot.
The author opens with
""Princess Nicotine" ranks as one of the finest trick films made in the United States."
"..mystifying from beginning to end."
You can view this book from its archive.org page.
16 pages are devoted to this early Vitagraph trick film.
11 pages of text and 5 pages of illustrations.
Find it beginning on page 242 of the book or 332 of the digital file.
This book also discusses a lot of other trick films, animation and microscopic movies.
Subject: Ahead of it's time
This film is a superb example that a special effects film can be made without color,sound, or "digital effects laboratory." By far the most enjoyable silent short I've ever seen.
Wilford B. Wolf -
Subject: Must be smokin' that wacky tobacky...
Beautifully preserved short that shows the influence on American filmmakers by George Méliès, the pioneer of trick photography and special effects.
This short is very much in the Melies tradition. It starts with a man in a parlour smoking a pipe. We then cut to an iris shot with oversized props of two mischievious tobacco fairies, one of whom is being stuffed into a pipe. The two humorously battle, playing pranks on one another. About halfway through the short, the background disappears, but this is to allow for some of the real highlights of this film. Halfway through the film, we seen a fabulous stop motion animation sequence where a flower becomes a cigar, an fine early example of the art. (The first animated film only came out three years before this one reeler in 1906.) After the man returns to smoke the cigar, we are treated to a complicated inset shot, with the fairy first setting fire to some matches, and then the man retaliating with a spritzer bottle. Any time we see the fairy close, it is through an iris, but in this case, when we see the man, we also see the fairy on the table dodging the water. This effect is executed beautifully and looks believable nearly 100 years later.
This is a wonderful gem of early film history.
dog from Nightwatch -
Subject: Clever if not strange.
A weird little film but interesting and quite enjoyable.